Philadelphia Sports Day

Moeller: Greer Was A Mark Of Consistency and Reliability

Growing up watching the Sixers in the late 1960 and early 1970s, Hal Greer wasn’t always mentioned in the first breath about the team.

Of course, there was Wilt, Billy Cunningham, and the flamboyant Archie Clark, Wali Jones, and Luke Jackson. I realized that it was Greer’s consistency and reliability that often casted him in the shadows.

Somehow, Greer always seemed to be involved in a big play at the end of a game in either a win or a loss. He seemingly was always there, averaging 75 games a year over his 15 seasons.

 

(PRNewsfoto/Fanthropic)

It also was why he eventually emerged as the team’s all-time leading scorer with 21,586 points. as well as the team career leader in field goals, field goals attempted, games and minutes played.

To me, Greer will always be remembered as a lanky, 6-3 guard, short-haircut, extremely quick with a terrific jump shot. He was the only player I recalled shooting his free throws like a jump shot.

Sadly, Greer passed away at the age of 81 in Arizona Saturday.

Fitting, though, Greer was honored before the Sixers’ second-playoff game Monday night against Miami in a time that could easily parallel the Sixers’ late 60’s and early 70’s run as one of the NBA’s steadiest team until the legendary Alex Hannum and Jack Ramsey.

I remember watching Greer in the twilight of his career with the Syracuse Nationals and the Sixers. In his 13th season during the 1970-71 season, Greer helped the Sixers to a 47-35 record and a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division and to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the then Baltimore Bullets in the final game of a grinding seven-game series.

That was one of Greer’s better final years as he averaged 18.6 points per game behind Clark and Cunningham.

His offensive production dipped the following season when the club had a reversal of fate, and Greer finished his career in an abbreviated 38-game season on the legendary 1972-73 game that went 9-73.

There was plenty of talk that Greer would serve as an assistant coach in his final year, but the Sixers’ dysfunctional coaching staff and front office truly did him a disservice in playing him in only 38 games and leaving him in limbo about his role on the team.

The early 70s was a time marked by the play of guards Walt Frazier, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing, Tiny Archibald, Earl Monroe, and Pete Maravich.

Greer wasn’t – and still isn’t – mentioned in the same sentence with those greats.

He should be.  Greer was just as good.

Like his demeanor, Greer went out and quietly got the job done night after night.

His number 15 hangs from the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center as a reminder of the team’s arguably most consistent and dedicated player. Ironically, his number matched his playing years in the end.

It is a state that current members may reach someday, but likely there will never be another Hal Greer.

For those who watched him, you know what I mean.

 

 

 

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